CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien’s Wikipedia article has come under the protective watch of a Wikipedia editor who claimed to spot “persistent vandalism” to her page.
O’Brien has embroiled herself in a controversy surrounding a particular interpretation of Critical Race Theory — a controversial legal idea crafted to respond to the alleged role of “white supremacy” in American law — and involving President Barack Obama’s association with the founder of that theory, the late Harvard Law School professor Derrick Bell.
An old edit on O’Brien’s page highlights the recent controversy, but one editor placed a lock on the Wikipedia page until March 19 to protect it from vandals. The article’s editing history shows that it was edited 44 times between March 8 and March 12. Many of the edits were attempts to include information about the recent media controversy surrounding O’Brien and Bell.
The debate was sparked by a video that depicted a hug between Obama, then a Harvard Law student, and Bell. Obama’s critics suggested that a close relationship between Bell and Obama could provide insights into the president’s views on race politics.
Obama supporters see the video as a smear campaign against Bell, who is unable to respond from the grave.
An online discussion between Wikipedia editors also reflected the media controversy surrounding Critical Race Theory and mentioned O’Brien’s on-air debate along with articles published by The Daily Caller and Breitbart.com.
TheDC also previously reported that an editorial lock was placed Monday on the Wikipedia article about Critical Race Theory itself, following a separate “edit war” which followed a CNN debate between O’Brien and a Breitbart.com editor. While O’Brien insisted on-air that Critical Race Theory was not a backlash against perceived “white supremacy,” the theory’s Wikipedia article mentioned white supremacy in two different sections — including a definition of Critical Race Theory from UCLA.
A spokesman from the Wikimedia Foundation, which supports Wikipedia, previously told TheDC that editorial “locks” are not uncommon when a page becomes the center of a political or media controversy. Wikipedia’s editors are volunteers, and the site’s editorial policies are decided by consensus: There are no formal vetting processes, editorial boards or pervasive institutional points of view.
According to Wikipedia, O’Brien’s article “must adhere to the policy on biographies of living persons, even if it is not a biography, because it contains material about living persons. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libelous.”
O’Brien did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.